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Adobo de chanco

Adobo de Chanco

Course Meal
Keyword Aji Amarillo, Chile de Arbol, Rocoto
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 747kcal


For the pork

  • 3 ½ pounds boneless, rindless Boston butt cut into chunks about 2 inches square.
  • 2 heaped tablespoons clarified pork fat or lard

For the pork’s marinade

  • 8 dried chile de arbol peppers soaked for 10 minutes in 4 tablespoons boiling water. Keep the water — it’s going into the marinade mix.
  • 2 red onions medium-sized
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 3 heaped teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 heaped teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 heaped teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

For the adobo sauce

  • 6 fresh red cayenne peppers cut into ½-inch thick slices, seeds and all
  • 4 red onions medium-sized, peeled, halved and cut into 1/3-inch half-moons
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 cups unsweetened kombucha the type I used was the one I like to drink half-and-half with soda water and ice
  • 2 heaped teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 heaped teaspoons ground sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pork fat / lard
  • All the excess marinade from the pork


For the pork’s marinade

  • Add all the marinade’s ingredients to your food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. That’ll probably take a few minutes because you’re aiming to create a smooth paste. Don’t forget to add the water that the dried chilies were soaked in.

Marinating the pork — 30 minutes is fine

  • Pour the marinade into a mixing bowl that will amply hold all the pork. Add the pork and use your fingers to give it a good coating of the marinade. Set aside for 30 minutes — it’s a good time now to prep the ingredients for the adobo sauce.
  • After that 30 minutes’ marinating, remove the pork from the bowl and use your fingers to wipe off — into the bowl — as much of the marinade as you easily can. Don’t fuss too much over this, just wipe off the excess — and take to care to keep the marinade in the bowl. That’s really important because the excess is going into your adobo sauce.

Cooking the pork — a fast-fry first, then a slow braising

  • This begins by giving batches of the marinated pork some fast, browning heat in a big skillet. The pork’s then going to braise in the adobo sauce on your stovetop at a slow simmer for 2 hours.
  • So, set a big, deep-sided skillet on a high heat, and add the pork fat / lard. As soon as the pork fat / lard just barely starts to smoke, add your first batch of pork in an evenly spaced single layer, then drop the heat to medium-high. (I used a 12-inch skillet, and gave the pork it’s pale gold coloring in three batches.)
  • On that medium-high heat, you want to fry the squarish pieces of pork for about 90 seconds on each side — so that they pick up some good-looking, pale gold color all over. Once that happens, use a slotted spoon to remove the pork and set it aside on a plate. Try to leave as much of the hot fat / lard as you can in the skillet. Repeat the fast-fry process for the next batches of pork. Good. Time now for some slow, simmering braising.
  • For that braising, choose a heavy-based, well-lidded pan that’ll be big enough to hold all the pork and all the sauce’s ingredients. I used a big, cast-iron Dutch oven for this.
  • Set your big pot on a medium heat, and add a level tablespoon pork fat / lard. Let the pan heat for a minute or so, then add the sliced cayennes, red onion, garlic and salt. Give the lot a good stir, then drop to heat to low-medium. You now want to gently fry the mix with some watchful stirs so that the chilies, onion, and garlic soften — but don’t start to take on any browning color. That’ll take about 7 minutes on that low-medium heat.
  • Once the chilies, onion, and garlic have softened, stir in all the sauce’s remaining ingredients, and raise the heat to high. When the sauce just begins to bubble, add the pork and all the flavorful juices from the plate it was sitting on. Give the big pot a good stir, drop the heat to low, and put on the lid. Nearly done.
  • You now want to keep an eye of the pot so that it cooks at a gentle simmer for 2 hours — and I mean a gentle simmer. So, you might have to occasionally adjust the heat to keep things just barely bubbling.
  • After the pot’s been slowly cooking for 1½ hours, test the sauce for saltiness, and adjust according to your taste.
  • Then, after 2 hours’ simmering, that’s it. Your adobo de chanco is ready to serve — the pork will be so tender that you’ll be able to ever-so-easily pull those chunks apart with your fingers.


Serving your adobo de chanco — in large soup bowls, please
I like to present the big pot at the table with a good size ladle alongside — so that folks can fill their own bowls.
I offered it with a big, crusty loaf of olive ciabatta that generous hunks could be torn from. Remember, this is a dish that gains nothing from cutlery — the broken bread’s the only utensil you’ll need.
Bearing that ‘fingers only’ advice in mind, I also served hotly-buttered corn cobs — 2 per person. And they’re strictly for eating with your fingers.
Napkins all round? For sure!


Calories: 747kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 77g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 242mg | Sodium: 474mg | Potassium: 1713mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 311IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 144mg | Iron: 6mg